Samantha Knight is that friend who brings a bottle of champagne to the party and insists you open it immediately—the fine jewelry designer and collector says she believes people need to spoil themselves when appropriate.
“I’m extra,” Knight admits with a laugh.
And there’s no more appropriate time to spoil yourself than when it comes to jewelry, Knight says. This self-trained designer uses her intuition and life experience to determine how a necklace stack should look or what’s the next piece a longstanding client of hers should acquire.
Knight’s Los Angeles–based jewelry company is less than a decade old, but her previous work—from running her own coffee shop to operating a home furnishings company to opening a yarn store—has taught her to trust her eye.
Her first venture was the coffee shop in Beverly Hills, and Knight says she created the store’s upscale feel. From there Knight got a job at a furniture company. Some management changes resulted in her buying out the owner and running it herself from 1998 to 2002.
She added interior design services, and at the two store locations, in Santa Monica and Pasadena, Knight developed her design mantra that she still holds dear today: “livable luxury.”
“It’s important to me that I live my life that way. Luxury doesn’t have to mean expensive. You should have what you like,” she says. “If you want a bunch of pillows, have a bunch of pillows! People think they can’t have nice things because they have young children. Well, I say, ‘Yes, you can.’”
As Knight’s interior design business grew, she shed the two stores to make her life simpler. She continued working as an interior designer until 2006, and during this time she began knitting as a hobby to share with her daughter, a budding artist. The lure to get back into retail was strong enough that Knight opened her own knitting shop, which lasted 10 years, from 2006 to 2016.
A friend’s fashion line caught Knight’s interest, and at the friend’s invitation she started sourcing jewelry for the brand. Knight says she’d always loved fine jewelry and collected antique and vintage pieces. As she got deeper into working with jewelry on a regular basis, Knight says she knew it was time to dive in fully.
“I knew if I went that route, I had to do it on my own,” Knight says. “That’s when I created Samantha Knight Jewelry. I never put my name on any of my other businesses. I knew it had to be personal, and having my name on it holds me accountable. Everything you see is a reflection of me, and what you see is what you get.”
Knight sells both her own designs and jewelry from other creators to help her clients come up with one-of-a-kind looks. She sources pieces for customers from every era, from Victorian to disco to modern. Her favorite jewelry comes from the 1970s, she says.
Knight’s four children, ages 17 to 29, have occasionally helped her come up with ideas for her jewelry. During the pandemic they were doing plastic beading kits together, and that inspired Knight’s Stepping Stones bracelets—which are similar to friendship or charm bracelets.
The Stepping Stones are handcrafted in Los Angeles of 14k yellow gold beads and enamel initials and symbols. Because she’s “extra,” Knight says she’ll even add gemstones to the mix for a client who wants a more glamorous Stepping Stones bracelet.
“If you’re going to spend your money on my jewelry, it has to be authentic and something timeless. If it means something to me now, it has to also mean something to my kids—or your kids when they have it,” Knight says.
Top: Samantha Knight created a jewelry brand that showcases her wide array of jewelry influences and creates heirlooms for clients. (Photos courtesy of Samantha Knight Jewelry)@jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine